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Subject: Re: [boost] is review system in place is extremely slow? (was Re: [rfc] rcpp)
From: Andrey Semashev (andrey.semashev_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-02-28 09:17:34

Hi Gennadiy,

While I mostly agree with you pointing out the drawbacks of the current
system, I don't quite agree with your proposal.

On 02/28/2010 04:24 PM, Gennadiy Rozental wrote:
> That's said, here's how better procedure might look like IMO. This will
> require some initial investment in writing scripts for process
> automation, but in a long run we should be very well compensated.
> 1. Any library author interrested in submission of new library should
> come to the "Candidate" page and register. Once registered candidate gets:
> a) svn repository for the library
> b) standardized page on boost website (something like
><candidate name>
> c) announcement post is sent automatically (with abstract and link to
> above page) to the mailing list.

Good. Having a central place for potential Boost libraries to evolve may
simplify development. Although I'm not sure there are resources to
maintain this kind of hosting.

> 2. The candidate page should contain abstract and links to the sources
> and docs. Also it should include some kind of "voting" mechanism, where
> people would express the interest. Preferable with authentication, which
> would link to the mailing list members. To qualify for the review
> candidate should exceed some predefined threshold of minimum number of
> "supporters". These people are expected to post a review later on for
> the library to have a chance of being accepted.

Voting is good. I appreciated the feature on SourceForge. Although I
don't think that the right to vote should be tied with posting a review
later. I consider voting as afeedback mechanism, nothing more.

Regarding the candidate page, do you mean that the library docs should
be hosted somewhere outside the Boost web site? If so, I don't like that
idea. IMO, if we pursue the idea of a central hosting for the candidate
libraries (with SVN, web access, etc.), it should include online
documentation hosting, too.

> 3. Once candidate have proper number of supporters and passed all other
> formal requirements (docs, tests, directory structure) - all validated
> against repository, candidate author can schedule a review from reviews
> schedulers (whatever the proper name). Once review manager is assigned
> candidate page is transformed into "candidate review" page.

It's not clear how it's transformed and in what way. Regarding the
review scheduling, it's pretty much like it happens nowdays.

> 4. Review process.
> The candidate review can start at any time by the review manager (no
> queue) and should take at least 2-4 month. There can be any number of
> reviewed being run concurrently. The "candidate review" page should
> include abstract, review package, and some kind of review submission
> mechanism (maybe boolean yes/no + an actual review). The review should
> be per person and each reviewer should have an ability to modify the
> review.
> Review discussion mechanism can be web based on rely on mailing list or
> some mixture of these.

I disagree, in several points.

* 2-4 months is a very long period. You can't expect review manager and
the library authors focused on the review that long. Also, for simple
tools, such as Boost.Move that is in the queue now, there's nothing to
review during all that time. On the other hand, I agree that a few weeks
may not be enough for some larger scaled libraries. Which leads me to
conclusion that the review duration should be individual, decided by the
author, review manager and review wizards, taking into account other

* Concurrent reviews is wrong. We don't have enough reviewers and
wizards to make sequential reviews. Allowing parallel reviews won't make
it better. The review quality will also drop.

* Review mechanism should be convenient for both the reviewers and the
author/review manager. It should allow an easy conversation between the
reviewers and the author. Mailing list is good enough, I think.

> 5. Review manager have a right to stop a review at any time and make a
> decision if there is an overwhelming evidence that the library is going
> to be accepted/rejected.


> 6. If there is not enough reviews with first 2-4 month, the library is
> rejected due to lack of support.

Hmm, arguable, at least. If it made it to the review, there surely is an
interest to the library.

> 7. If there is no review manager found within a year, the library is
> rejected due to lack of support.

I think, there are several useful libraries in the queue that fit that
criteria. My Boost.Log was surely longer than a year without a review
manager, and I can't say there's no interest.

For both 6 and 7, bouncing candidates away won't help the situation.

And the most important objection from my side is that your proposal
doesn't change anything to solve the root problem - there are not enough
people (or free time of theirs) to manage and write full reviews. I
actually makes it a bit worse.

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